Sewage flooding, typically occurring in the basement or bathroom, is a critical problem that needs to be addressed immediately. While there are minor flooding incidents that you can tackle yourself, sewage flood cleanup involves several risks that would not make it DIY-friendly. If you’re considering cleaning up sewage flooding yourself, you may put your health, home, and wallet at risk.
Health Risks of DIY Sewage Flood Cleanup
Sewage consists of greywater (from utilities like sinks, tubs, showers, and dishwashers) or worse – black water. It’s the water used to flush toilets mixed with the human waste that it flushes away. Sewage backups in your home can result from different causes – clogs in the home’s drain pipes, tree roots, damaged sewer lines, and more.
Sewage, especially black water, contains contaminants ranging from parasites and viruses, to bacteria and fungi. Contact with sewage without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and following proper procedures is a serious threat to your health. There’s the risk of contracting over a dozen diseases, such as hepatitis A and encephalitis.
Mold growth is another risk when attempting DIY sewage cleanup. Mold exposure can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children and people with compromised immune systems. Flooding provides ideal conditions for mold to develop as it only needs moisture, organic material, and optimal temperature. What’s worse – it can grow within just 24 to 48 hours of the incident.
However, the greatest danger is not the risk of disease, but the risk of electrocution or explosion. Never enter a flooded area or light matches until the utility companies have shut off the electric and gas service. If you detect or smell gas, immediately evacuate your home and notify the gas company.
You should also never enter your home if the main power switch was not turned off before flooding. Touching electrical lines, wires, equipment, and fixtures during and after a flood, even with the power switched off, can be dangerous.
Why Sewage Flood Cleanup Requires Professional Restoration
Water damage is a progressive issue, so the longer you wait to deal with standing water, the greater the damage to your home. Your carpets, your furniture, your walls, and much more, will be compromised without quick and proper intervention.
Furthermore, sewage flood restoration poses unique challenges and very real dangers. Professional restoration technicians use the proper equipment and follow standard safety procedures and remediation techniques that typical homeowners would not normally have access to.
In a nutshell, here’s what professionals do to restore your property:
- Pump out contaminated water and remove debris
- Identify and address the origin of the sewage backup
- Remove and replace damaged drywall and floors if necessary
- Use industrial dehumidifiers and air scrubbers to speed up the drying process
- Sanitize the area using specialized cleaners and procedures; this helps eliminate bacteria and mold to prevent health risks and preserve infrastructure and belongings.
An experienced restoration company can also help with the insurance claims process.
Considering the difficulty and health risks of DIY sewage cleanup, we strongly recommend that you leave this critical task in the hands of professionals. You can count on our IICRC-certified PuroClean teams 24/7 for water damage repair services, so you can rest easy knowing that your home will be back in order quickly and efficiently.